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Potty Training

Its that time of year again where a lot of people are adopting puppy's or dogs and the most common question I get asked is how do I get my dog to stop peeing and pooping in the house!

Lets start by talking about puppy potty training. You just brought home a 8 to 10 week old puppy and it is very green on potty training, what do you do. First, you should make sure you have a cage that your puppy can stand up, turn around, and lie down in. That's all the room they need while you are potty training them. You can have a blanket or towel in there to start but if they start to chew at it then you want to take it out. Also, if they pee in their cage on the towel then you need to take the towel/blanket out too. It is ok for them to sleep on the tray only in the cage. It is only temporary. They will continue to pee on it because it absorbs the urine and it won't bother them. Dogs are naturally clean animals and they do not want to lay in their pee and poop so they will hold it until you come home to let them out. Second, when your puppy is out of the cage, they should be watched 24/7 and I mean that very literal! The moment you are not watching your puppy they will go else were and potty. To watch them while they are out of the cage, you either need to barricade a room off, which is usually the kitchen, or tether them to you or an object. That way they can't go in your nice dinning room and poop. When your puppy goes potty in the house do not correct them. You just startle them by stopping your feet on the ground or clapping your hands. This will get them to stop peeing or pooping and you will immediately take them outside. When they potty outside, give them a yummy treat right away. Don't wait to treat them when you come back inside, you will be rewarding them for coming in the house and not pottying outside. I usually recommend to my clients that you keep a bag of treats by the door. When you are not able to watch your dog or you are leaving the house, it is very important to keep your dog in the cage. When they are in the cage they should not have any collars or harnesses on. They can have a chew toy in the cage with them as long as it is something they cannot get pieces off of and choke. The other reason why cage training is so important is it builds your puppies bladder so they are able to hold it longer as they grow. Also, don't feel bad about having your puppy in the cage a lot, they are ok with it. They are den animals and like to be in enclosed areas. When they get older, they will want to go in their cage to relax and get away. The more you are on top of the potty training the faster they will be potty trained and be able to have more freedom in the house while you are home. They will be caged for the first year or so of their life so they don't chew up things in the house.

When you adopt a dog from a rescue, they may tell you that the dog you are adopting is potty trained. Never believe that. They may or may not be but when you take a dog into a completely new environment they don't know where to go potty and get confused so they go where ever. It is important to start potty training basics immediately when you bring your rescue home. Just follow the instructions I listed above.

Now lets talk about dirty dogs. These dogs will potty in their cage when they are enclosed in it and it won't bother them. The reason is, when they were at their other home, wither it was a shelter, foster, or other home, they pottyed where they slept and got used to it. So when you adopted them and starting cage training, they will potty in the cage and think it is ok. It will take time to fix the behavior but it can be fixed. There are several steps to take to get them to understand not to potty where they sleep. First, when you take your dog outside use a different leash then you do to go on walks. A flexi leash is fine to use here. They is associate that leash with potting and know when it is on to go outside and go potty. Also, praise for sniffing around, just say "good girl/boy, go potty". Most dogs potty after they eat, so you can add some water to their food so when it is time to go potty they will go faster and you can reward them for pottying outside. When your dog does go potty in the crate, make sure you clean it up right away and get all the smell out of it. If they smell pee or poop in the carpet or towel they will continue to go in that area. Also, feed your dog in the crate. Dogs usually don't like to use the bathroom were they eat. It will teach them that their cage is a clean place. You can also put a high value chew toy in with them so it deters them from pottying in the crate too. To fix a dirty dog takes a lot of time, patience, and energy. If you follow these steps it should put you on the right path to fixing the problem. You might need to get help from a certified dog trainer as well to get some specific help.

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